Consumers are reacting to concerns of shortages across the UK’s food and drink supply chains by shopping far earlier than normal for their Christmas purchases. According to a recent study by Springboard, November footfall will be boosted by shopper uncertainty as to whether or not specific goods will be available later in the year.

In this week’s blog, we’re exploring what the retail sector can expect this holiday season. 

Stockpiling begins

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic cancelled Christmas for most families across the country. Thankfully, the success of the vaccination program has enabled Britain to fully reopen whilst keeping the infection rate relatively stable. It is now safe to assume that 2021’s festive period will see a comparative return to normality. 

However, media coverage of product scarcity as a result of HGV driver shortages, Brexit and COVID-19 is alarming shoppers, with some already hoarding ahead of Christmas and many more likely to do so. Due to this, retailers need to prepare for a surge in early Christmas shopping and communicate effectively with customers to prevent a return to the extreme panic buying of March 2020. 

Footfall to peak early

Forecasts state that the main contributing factor to the increase in footfall prior to Christmas will be customers anticipating supply issues. Businesses are predicted to see a footfall boost of +7.9% on the week of Black Friday – this will be a greater rise than the +6.5% forecast for the final week of Christmas trading and a whopping 80.8% stronger than in 2020.

Further restrictions

Alongside the concern of supply shortages, research from Mintel has shown that 42% of consumers believe that a winter lockdown is on the cards for Britain. Even if draconian measures aren’t taken this Christmas, two-thirds expect rules around masks to get stricter. With many anticipating further restrictions, it’s safe to say that there will be an influx of shoppers looking to purchase gifts while they’re fully able.


At Targetfollow, we understand that the next few months are set to be challenging for the retail sector – however, as long as supply chains remain resilient, businesses are on track for an incredibly strong winter. We intend to work closely with our tenants at The Pantiles, Peterborough One Retail Park and Salle Moor Hall Farm to ensure a lucrative holiday season.